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Charlie Rose

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Mexico 30, United States 11, Sandy 8, Charlie 8, Manhattan 7, New York 6, Steve 4, Us 4, Calderon 3, Canada 3, Nyu 3, Langone 3, U.s. 2, Columbia 2, City 2, Narco 2, Jackson 2, United 2, Paul Barrett 2, Steve Coll 2,
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  PBS    Charlie Rose    News/Business.   
   (2012) New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    November 1, 2012
    11:00 - 12:00am PDT  

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>> rose: welcome to the progm. tonight we talk about the aftermath of the empact of hurricane sandy and one of many questions do these hurricanes have something to do with global warming. and mao -- how do we prepare fr them in the 2350u67. joining me bryan walsh of "time" magazine, paul barrett of bloomberg businessweek and steve coll of the new yorker magazine. >> people are not able to live at sea level along these coasts like they have in the past. we have to protect it with walls. >> rose: also this evening we look at some of the responses to hurricane sandy that did work and did save lives. joining me did jon lapook medical correspondent with the cbs evening news with scott
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pelley. >> we like to stay away from the word miracle, we really do. that's an overused word. i will say when i got there that night, i had the feeling at the pit of my stomach at first when i walked in, i thought oh my, this isn't a movie. we don't know how this is going to end. this could end with death. the were nodeaths as far as we know of anybody or catastrophes. >> rose: finally this evening we change courses and turn to narco terrorism in mexico and talk about that with mexico's secretary of the interior alejandro poire. >> mexico has been moving forward very significantly. of course we're very worried about the violence and security but in many areas and we can talk about them at length, mexico has made very significant advances. >> rose: the aftermath of hurricane sandy,xtraordina evacuation from a hospital and conversation with a secretary of the interior of mexico when we continue.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: it has been three days since hurricane sandy made land fall on the eastern coast of the united states. signs of recovery are beginning to appear. residents of storm hit areas are still coming to grips with the scale of the damage. neighborhoods in new york and new jersey remain under water while energy companies work to repair downed power line millions suspect another night without electricity. it may be over a week before power is restored in some places. as dawn broke this morning parts of the subway heaved into motion for the first time since sunday night. commuters eager to return to work with restrictions to auto transport. few in the northeast have not
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felt the effects of hurricane sand y. experts estimate the disaster will cost up to $50 billion but none forgoti that the true cost of the hurricane lies in the lost of human life. as we learn more about the events of this week some question about greater preparedness could have helped avert tragedy. an equally important question what is the relationship between these frequent hurricanes, sea level and desire to live next to the water. we look at the question of the relationship between the devastation of hurricane sandy and the rise of global warming. today michael bloomberg of new york endorsed president obama. here's part of what the mayor said. our climate is changing and while the increase in extreme weather we vex -- we have experienced in new york city and around the world the risk it might be given this week's devastation should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action. here to talk about the disaster's wide implications are three journalists their coverage of the disaster has called for
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vigilance in a world facing new and harsh challenges. joining me bryan walsh of "time" magazine. he writes the cover story lessons from the storm. paul barrett assistants managing editor and senior writer of bloomberg busineseek. his cover story is called it's global warming, stupid. and by phone steve coll of the new yorker magazine. i am pleased to have all of them here at this table. steve, this is what you have said. new yorkers like to tell stories about their extraordinary resilience. there's truth in these stories as we've seen in the past few days. the rescue and cooperation devastated communities. the absence of looting the well rehearsed emergency response protocols by many institutions and government. there is a collective sense of denial too about how poorly presented the city is for events of this scale. how poorly prepared have we been, steve? >> well, very, especially about flood waters. irene, tropical storm irene was only six months ago and the
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water, you remember, washed right up to the top of the battery but didn't come over. it wasn't hard to image then what a surge of ten or 11 or 12 feet higher might have done. and yet, it seems, and we'll have time to sort all of this south when we get through this emergency, that vy little was done to protect underground infrastructure from a very predictable surge. first of all. second of all, the extent to which the transportation and power system were vulnerable to this kind of weather, was known for ten years, predicted. again it's not clear that either in the private sector or the public sector, the city was illingo iest in what are frankly very large sums necessary to prevent this kind of disruption. >> rose: let me turn to you,
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paul. in your piece i think you cite the fact that insurance companies had known of this possibility. >> yes. they've been studying this for years now and are now taking the further step of saying that they are basically beyond the debate over whether climate change is relevant to these extreme events. basically they're willinto accept that. they are expecting that the pattern that they've seen in recent decades of increasing severity of extreme weather is going to continue and intensify. and they want to take business-related steps to respond. so basically, the debate as far as that part of the business world is over. there is no more back and forth. >> rose: i want to get into the scientific but just this idea. do most of the scientific community believe that this is
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one of t consequences of global warming? these kinds of hurricanes seemingly more often than in the most. >> well scientists are always very reluctant to tie climate change to weather events. motion water for instance of course is going to fuel these storms and make them stronger. >> rose: give them energy. >> that's fairly well established and we have seen the ocean continue to warm, partially due to mandate climate change. there's some thought as well that the unusual path of this storm the fact it came from the caribbean and took the hard left inttheunited stes may actually be related to the fact we've been losing arctic sea ice through changes of the atmosphere. >> rose: and raises the sea level. >> you have of course the sea level rising. that's of course what really the storm surge of course is what really made sandy so destructive and seas have been rising that is due to climate change. that does add an additional factor to surge and that flood and you'll see that in the
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future. when we think about preparing for a warmer world, a world that's more prone to these kind of events, that's something we really need to deal with. >> rose: has the federal government done anything about this, steve? >> well they've studied it but they haven't, they've tried to engineer protection in some low lying areas that have been subject to catastrophic flooding even before global warming began to gather force. but they haven't come to terms with the reality that to keep new york and manhattan protected from even the most conservative forecasts of rising sea levels over the next 30 or 40 years is going to require investments on the scale of $10 billion in current dollars. and that's essentially to build the kinds of sea walls and engineering systems to protect manhattan that we have previously invested in with obviously very mixed results in
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new orleans. so the problem with this is that when you look around coastal america, at the cities and communities that are vulnerable to predicted levels of sea rise, the expense is just astronomical. there may be political will to keep manhattan protected. but the federal scale of the policy problem really just isn't suited to political action. the numbers are too big and the time lines are too long for politicians. >> rose: what would you add to that. >> i think what steve is saying is exactly right, and unfortunately, our instinct which is an understandable human instinct is immediately to rebuild, rbui the jrsey shore, rebuild where we've been. part of the problem we haven't come to terms with is people are not going to be able to live at sea level along these coasts the way they have in the most. and if we're going to have a city at sea level like southern
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manhattan, we're going to have to protect it with walls. whatever you think about climate change, the weather is changing, we're going to have more of these events. >> rose: the cause is changing. >> exactly. it is changing and these events are more intense than they were before. and i fear that it will ta everal more such crises before the political system is able to fully respond. >> rose: why this title? >> you probably have to ask my boss. the editor of the magazine, josh terangrl who wrote those cover words. but i think the aim is obvious. the aim is to grab people by the lapels and shake them. >> rose: it is related to global warming. >> that's right. again, i quoted a guy in that article who compared this to barry bonds, the former and disgced baseball slugger on steroids. he said you can't say that any
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one home run that barry bonds hit was because he was on steroids. it's pretty silly to say the fact he was taking steroids didn't contribute to more home runs overall and hitting the ball farther. and i think that's a very good proven nalg. >> rose: it's the steroids stupid. >> the comment is now we have weather on steroids. we can't say any one storm is as a result of that. but overall we have an environment in whichhe srms are going to be more intense. >> rose: look at the lessons. where do you put the three or four most important lessons we need to learn from this. >> when you talk about what are you going to do about coastal cities, what sort of defenses will you put in place if you want to have a city like manhan that's right on the coast, it's at sea level. can we not have that many people living close to the sea. we have almost 4 million americans living a if few feet
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of high tide. is it right to be insuring that kind of property as well. we also have to think about climate change. we can argue endlessly really and scientists do over exactly how much climate change plays what role with weather. but we know enough to take steps to deal with it. we know enough to have a plan in place to reduce carbon emissions over time. we don't have absolute certainly in foreign policy and the economy, we can't wait around until we know for certain we need to take steps now. >> rose: that's what the mayorpoind to, carbon attacks or maybe able to measure carbon standards. where is there a model, steve, of a city in the world that's responded to the challenge? >> well, it depends on how much wealth you have. i mean holland, the netherlands is essentially an engineered country that if in the absence of its wealth and its willingness to spend that wealth on engineering the seas to keep
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low lands occupied by dutch people, it wouldn't be a viable country. the question for t ited states is because we are a coastal country with, as one of the other guests said 4 million people at least at high tide never mind back up a bit to account for three feet of higher seas in 30 or 40 years. this is not a problem that can be solved by engineering alone. not on a national scale. manhattan could solve it by engineering is alone, at least for half a century but the whole count c. e question is really from a policy perspective, from a taxpayer's perspective, trying to break the cycle of, i think paul mentioned, rebuilding and essentially subsidizing the repetition of expensive failure. the private market left to its own won't insure a lot of
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communities that are exposed to flooding. but the federal government has often come in and essentially made up for this absence of private insurance. when u t toan urb scale in the case of manhattan, it has to be a national political strategy that addresses this but it requires exactly the kind of long time lines and sensible consistent investments over 20 or 30 years that we've demonstrated so far in the case of climate change, we can't enact even when it comes to something fairly simple like putting a price on carbon heavy fuels. >> rose: in fact, there's been no debate carbon and climate change hasn't been a political issue in this debate of any depth. >> to the contrary what you have from the republican mitt romney is belittlement of the debate. during his acceptance speech in
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tampa he tried to make fun of the president for even talking about it. so it basically has been off the table during this debate. >> rose: this is what you say. you quote david owen whose book was the conundrum. he states as long as the west places high values onconic growth a word you hear every day and consumer gratification with the rest of them right behind continue to burn the fossil fuels whose emissions tress pass the atmosphere, fluorescent lightbulbs, they're just not enough he says. >> it's a brilliant book but brilliant and pessimistic. his point is really even larger than what we're talking about. his point is that some of our most cherished values, the idea that the economy should always be growing, the idea tt consumers wants and needs should always be served and that that is essential to the culture being healthy.
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his point is that actually until those attitudes change, we're not going to take serious steps. >> rose: it won't do anything. >> right. so he's talking about not just political action but a change in cultural mind set and a change in fundamental values. and if he's right, and he may be, are then this is even more complicated than we're talking about today. >> rose: but he does say the first step is to put climate change back on the agenda. >> absolutely. y n a total fatalist he's written this book as an alert so that society should think more deeply. >> rose: what's the most important thing you've learned on reporting this story. >> the most important thing i've learned is really how vulnerable so much us are. you don't have to report the story, you just need to look at the tv and sandy over the last few days. what's so amazing about the storm was the sheer size. it struck 50, 60 million americans and did so almost simultaneously and that really
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trultaxe theability of any society to respond to that. you couldn't borrow personnel, new york couldn't take personnel from new jersey or connecticut because everyone was going to be hit at once. we're all in this together and you have to accept that fact. >> rose: there's this question also which is the argument that's been made over the last years with increasing velocity. it is that cyber attacks could produce some of the same results we're experiencing today by being able to damage the electric grid in an even mo severe way. >> yes, absolutely. that's a scary thought. we've seen just what life is like with a few million people without power. you can see the grid go down in a large way, if it was not easy to put it back together again. of course it's not the most resilient piece of infrastructure to say the least. that will be truly frightening and we don't have the ability to deal with that and i don't think
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the utilities do certain. secretary panetta should be discussing about it over the last few months. >> that's a more horrifying prospect thehort rm because the effects could be as severe or worse and it would have the extra punch that terrorism has so that it wouldn't just be inanimate mother nature an event we don't blame. we would feel under attack. there was a reason that 9/11 had the reverberations it had. it was the just a natural vent you could roll with but the idea that someone in china or iran by playing around with a keyboard could bring down half the country for a few weeks truly rrifying. rose: thank you bryan, thank you paul, thank you steve. back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: we continue now with the realization that in any devastation like hurricane sandy there is pain and loss and tragedy. but there's also examples of extraordinary response.
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joining me now is dr. jon lapook the medical costent for the cbs evening news with scott pele and frequently appears on cbshis morning. he's a professor of medicine at columbia medical school. he was on the ground a nyu angone medical center on monday when power was lost and 300 patients needed to be evacuated. >> we're hoping to find out more information from people here at the hospital. but as of now, as we understand it, an evacuation is either about to begin or is beginning very shortly. sir, can you give me more information. >> i'm dr. lapook, i'm the medical correspondent. good to see you. i'm coming down here with the head of the ci and we heard about the power outage and we're going to see if we can help with the evacuation. they need some hands. >> it's daunting people showing up don't know what's happening inside. >> we don't want to delay. we'll head inside and i'll report some more when i get more information. >> thank you very much.
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dr. lapook is the medical correspond empt for cbs news. >> rose: i am pleased to have him here at this table. welcome. >> how are you doing charlie. >> rose: tell me about this. there's tragedy here at greasy point, there's tragedy in new jersey, convenience loss here in manhattan and long island. but things came out much better than anyone could hope. tell me a story. >> i've been a doctor for 32 years, i never seen anything like that. it was extraordinarily dramatic because when you get there the entire lobby was filled with people and firefighters and policemen and medical students, residents, everybody was trying to figure out how are we going to get these 300 patients out of the hospital. they included 20 babies who were in the neo natal icu dependent on respirators and medications wereein given via powered desupervises that had to be working. and the clock was ticking.
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when were these generators going to go out. >> rose: let's thank you about the generators. every hospital is to my knowledge has some kind of medical generator back up with the power fails. they had more than one. >> yes they did. i just got off the phone with dr. bob grossman. he is the dean and ceo of nyu angone medical center. he explained what happened. there were eight back up generators there. one on the ground and thethers got flooded. the other seven were high on the floors including the roof. the problem was by state code the fuel pump has to be on the ground floor. when the water's flooded in it tripped a sensor that cut off the line of fuel so it just ran out of fuel. >> rose: so the lesson is to do what next time. >> they had planned bob just told me dr. gross man told me there was a plan for a surge. there hadn't been a 12 foot surge since 1821. it reminds me of fukushima where
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they said we'll build the seawall this high and of course it became higher than that. >> rose: you have to build it even higher. >> the irony is six months ago i just found this out, six months ago they started construction in a building nearby which is a whole other separate back up generator system that wouldn't be affect by any of this but it wouldn't be completed until 2014. >> rose: a lesson for all hospitals. give me a sense if you're a doctor and if you're a patient, what the impact of the loss of power means. what's the threat? >> it's everything. and this is why when i got an e-mail from cbs paying that the power was out at nyu langone i called my friend who was the head of gi there and i said we got to get over there because we both knew the clock was running on these respirators. let's go to the neo natal they
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are reliant because their lungs are so immature, charlie. they need oxygen and their chests aren't powerful enough to be taking it in themselves. there are these respirators that give them very specific volumes of air. there's machinery delivering medications. a drop every ten seconds, extraordinarily sensitive. it has to be exactly right. now this is relying on electricity. so the second the electricity goes down, these kids' lives are literality in danger. now what happened here when i came in, there was a little bit of something fortuitous going on because when i walked in the word was these back up generators are going too any mite. we've got minutes left. that was around midnight, 1:00 in the morning they were still going. 2:00 in the morning still going. 3:00 in the morning still going. then they went. and it gave time to evacuate some patients and to get a little bit, buy a little time. >> rose: when did the order to evacuate come. >> as soon as the power went
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out, everybody rolled into this emergency mode. i walked into the lobby, there was a command center there and it was something they had rehearsed many times. you have dean grossman head of it all. you have the police and the fire dent there. you have the medical students, you have the residents, the nurses and the first responders and they were all very coordinated. one of the things that was so impressive to me is although it was clearly a life threatening situation, everybody knew it and everybody knew the stakes could not have been higher. >> rose: how many lives? >> well you're talking about 320 people who needed to be evacuated. a lot of them were very very sick. even though the stakes were incredibly high, everybody was just calm. people were doing what they had to do. one of the most traumatic things was charlie, there was just one staircase, narrow fair -- fair case staircase that had to come on slefdz. to get them down without the slefdz flying ahead of them they used mountain climbing equipment.
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they had people on either side, one person at the head making sure the head was okay. >> rose: no electricity, no lights. >> flashlights. it was eerie lighting with flashlights. it was like an intricate dance that everybody was doing to not step on each other, nurses are helding iv bags. it could not have been tighter. the wind is howling. then the added danger what if we slip and go flying down. i don't know how to describe the but you hook it on to the side of the stairwell. even if it fell, it would have stopped it like that. they would undo it, bring it down a little bit more and repeat it just like i guess you repel down a mountain. this took, one time when i went down it took probably about 30 minutes to get one person down. this was repeated over and over again. >> rose: how long was the entire evacuation. >> hover a period of a dozen hours or so they had everybody out. >> rose: where did they go. >> they went to local area hospitals. mt. sinai, cornell, lenox hill
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andmont use viewer. when i walked in one of the people i saw was a little baby 29 weeks old, premie. i wasn't sure if it was a boy or girl. i went over and asked the mother is it boy or girl. it's 29 weeks. it's a boy. the nurse, they didn't left the mothers carry the babies but the nurseas gently cuddling it. it made an impression because my son noah was born at 29 weeks. i was thinking my gosh i remember i was scared enough when he was in the intensive care at columbia. that's hard enough, there's a hurricane and if that isn't enough the power's out we need to move your baby to another hospital. we followed up, we were looking for what happened to these patients. 325 patients were evacuated and our producers of all the joints in the world ended up finding
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this baby and we were ab to do a piece with the baby. >> rose: the next piece is from cbs this morning in which you see some of the newborn babies being evacuated. roll tape. >> doctors , nurses and hospital specified are evacuating patients from langone medical center monday night. the most vulnerable 20 newborn babies holding on to life at the neo natal care unit. >> the power went out and all of these monitors here, there's a lot of buzzingnd wtn and everything just went. >> joanne's son jackson born prematurely at 27 weeks was carried in the dark by a nurse who also held his oxygen tank. >> they had to go down nine flights of stairs that were wet and had adult patients lying on the floors in like stretchers. it was pretty crazy and all of this in complete darkness. >> there were so many
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ambulances, there's people running around pushing gurneys. >> no one would let him in. >> that negotiation was fruitless. >> donovan waited outside in the driving wind and rain for two hours. finally a doctor escorted him inside. >> we kind of jog ran up 15 flights of stairs to the fifth floor and got to the top of the steps and the floor was pitch black. i found my son found his nurse and it was kind of an awesome moment and we just walked down together. >> a harrowing drive down dark slick streets to hospitals that hadn't lost power followed. down sinai, mountviewer projects. >> he's doing really really good considering the long journey we had in an ambulance to get hear. >> by tuesday morning, all the
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patients at nyu were successfully evacuated to nearby hospitals. >> are you looking for me. >> no one is more grateful for the hospital's response than the parents of those 20 infants. >> they didn't choose the hurricane, they didn't choose the power outage but the responded perfectly to it. as a parent, it's very intense to deal with something like this with your kid that he's getting the possible care meant to him in the world and my wife and i are really grateful. >> rose: tell me about that. >> there were a couple babies there but of all the gin joints in the world we ended up following up little jackson born at 27 weeks and his mother joe. now this was the same exact baby of all the patients who i happened to focus on and stop and talk to the mother in the lobby of nyu langone the night it happened. they ended up picking a patient they wanted to see what happened to these kids. they went to mountviewer and the child was perfectly fine. i spoke to the mother yesterday
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after i was on cbs this morning and we talked about how she's from canada, her mother's from canada, her mother-in-law's from england and there's not a lot of support for her. we started talking about what happens when you get home because here she's been in emergency mode. this is one of the things we talk about, this emergency mode. she's been in emergency mode. there's the premature baby and now there's theurrane a the adrenaline's flowing and suddenly these going to go home soon and i said sometimes what can happen is you can have some anxiety, even depression, you should expect it. i could hear her voice starting to get shaky on the phone. she said i'm starting to feel that. and so then i very gently sort of suggested you need to talk to your doctor, there are things you can do. there are steps you can take. so we ended up talking about how the follow up was so important because i think in those situations charlie she's so focused on the baby. and on the emergency. and she wasn't really paying attention to her own emotions. of course postpartum anxiety and
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postpartum depression can be serious. >> rose: what kind of pieces have you been doing since. i saw that parts -- participator. what's sort of the focus on your own in journalism. >> one of the things i'm interested in is the whole, the coverage of this whole disaster. because i think with modern technology, we know about these hurricanes, four or five, six, seven days in advance, right. so there'shisbuild up, this anticipatory anxiety. it's coming in six days, five days, four days. and you get to emergency mode. now in evolution, emergency mode is a great thing. your cortisol goes up, your adrenaline goes up. if there's a tiger there a million years ago off you go and you run away and you either live or you die, right. but that whole emergency mode lasts a couple minutes. we are not used to being in emergency mode for four, five, six days.
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when that happens, it just don't feel good. pit of the stomach, anxiety. >> rose: what can you do about that. >> there are three things is to create panic. one of them is danger. people sense danger. two is a feeling of being trapped. and i know i had a friend of mine that day of the hurricane hit when she said boy she was okay until she heard that the subways were closed. she got a feeling in the pit of her stomach and she popped a pill to relax you and she just felt anxious. and the third thing is bad information to contribute to panic. so i think one of the great things that comes out of this is that the information has been very very good in terms of i think bloomberg, mayor bloomberg, governor christie have done a good job about being calm. that's one of the things dr. grossman was saying, why did this happen what's going on, he walked out in the rain and spoke
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to the press. >> rose: right. so hospitals today are equipped to respond to these kinds of emergencies. we talked about generators. what else do we need fromur best hospals when we face this kind of emergency? >> well, we are trained in columbia presbyterian, new york presbyterian at columbia, we changed the name. i've been there too long. we are the command center and go through drills what to do during emergencies. during 9/11 up i went, we were command center, everybody knew what to do. of course there was nothing to do up there because there were no survivors that went up there. we go through drills that involve moving people into special care centers. i'm sure that in this case, one of the big fears asi from the electricity running out in the hospital and then the babies not having enough oxygen or medicine was they're being moved to all these different hospitals. charlie in the now -- four by 400 where is the race lost. when the baton is dropped.
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handing the baton to the next hospital is crucial and this is something hospitals are supposed to do. triage, they have to get plugged in, they need to know what medications, the settings of the chin onef the motion amazing things that night. we like to stay away from the word miracle. we really do, that's an overused word. i will say when i got there that night, and i had the feeling in the pit of my stomach at first when i walked if i thought oh my, this isn't a movie. we don't know how this is going to end. this could end with death. there were no deaths as far as we know how far anybody or catastrophes. >> rose: on the other hand, were there loss of medical records? >> not that we know of? the medical records of most places are on the computer and should have been back ups of it. but there's certainly, there were, look, things did not go perfectly smoothly. i mean one of the real problems was the egress out of the hospital being down that one staircase. and i will say i ran up the fair
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case at -- staircase at one point and it was emptied. the last person had gone out. i never been in an icu that was dark and somebody had just five minutes ago had a flashlight and there were signs of recent activity. so crumpled sheets, iv bags that were eerily hanging up on pes with the iv tubing running out but nobody on the other end. it reminds me of a detective movie where the pertraitor is and there's a cup of coffee and it's still warm, he was here a minute ago. i had that same feeling, they were here a minute ago but there was nobody there, it was ghostly quiet, it was eerie something i never seen before. >> rose: i have the impression thousands of mice used in research. >> i just spoke to dr. grossman again about an hour ago and he told me about, this is one of the real real problems that ca out of this. about 20% of the rodents that
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were used in research there were lost. and this is a calamity for a lot of these researchers. so they're talking about mice for example called factout mice -- knock out mice. this is their life work in terms of research. you need help not only from fema but from the national institutes of health in order to get these scientists back on their feet. >> rose: the are theidd stories we don't know about. we understand most importantly the anguish of people, lost lives and relatives and friends secondly, the loss of property and everything. your life savings and your life treasures are all destroyed by flood or fire. and then there are these hidden stories of things that you don't think about that have been damaged by the flood or damaged by the fire. that had real impact on people's jobs. >> i think so. and especially people who have been through it before.
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so i think about the people who ha post traumatic stress from a katrina, from 9/11 and this happens and it reinforces. guess what, where were those people on 9/11 they were at the tip of manhattan and the same area that's getting hit so hard right now. there are other areas, i came into cbs this morning somebody said i'm up in rockland county, nobody's telling that story. nasa county out on the island, there are places our cameras aren't getting to. so the devastation. >> rose: because there are so many stories. >> that's right. >> rose: thank you very much. back in moment. stay with us. >> rose: al -- al -- al has not poire -- the government is due to change before the year is out with enrique pena becoming president in december. but the challenges facing the
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country remain the war on the drug cartels in relation with the united states will remain key areas of focus. i'm pleased to have alejandro poir at this table. welcome. >> thank you very much charlie. >> rose: i interviewed calderon, the president for another month i guess, month and-a-half here when he was in town for the clinton global initiative. i raised these questions with him. where is mexico with the war on violence and his demand on the united states. and the level of violence that has made so much money relevant to corruption. >> gue theirs thi we need to keep in mind charlie is that violence between the drug gangs is phenomena that is probably natural to competition for drug markets. i have here a chart that people in the u.s. might relate to that
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indicates homicide rates in the united states over the last 20 years. these figures correspond to cities like new york, atlanta, dallas, boston, los angeles, and they indicate how in the early 1990's, late 1980's, there was a very significant incrse inhe homicide rates. we have homicide rates all the way up to 60, 40, something like that. mexico's current homicide rate you can see on this tight. >> rose: 100,000. >> the rate is at 24 and it has raised significantly over the last few years. what we have confronted is a increase in homicide rates not only in mexico but in all the hemisphere over the last few years. in the decade between 2000 and 2010 the homicide rate, the averaghomide re in all of the americas increased by 60%. so what we're doing in mexico is a fight for security. we are improving the rule of
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law. we are confronting these cartels, we're trying to bring them down, bring them to justice. we are transforming institutions devoted to the rule of law. and we are also going to the most vulnerable area of society to try to reconstruct the social fabric. of course we want to have much better results. >> rose: are you succeeding. >> i think we would want to have much better results. we have some indications that we are on the right track. let me show you again a simple chart of what we have been able to do in cuidad juarez. it became at some point a couple years ago one of the most violent cities in the world. >> rose: right. >> the drug gangs were fighting each other, they were killing each other and it was very very hard and it was a very very hard environment. we had been able to bring the homicide rate 76% with a comprehensive strategy and we are doing things like this in other areas of the country where the violence is particularly significant. overall, the crime rate in mexico decreased by about4% overall in the first semester of this year relative to the first
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semester of last year. we need to do much more but i think we have found a path and we're working very hard on it. >> rose: what's the most difficult? what is the biggest impediment? >> well, one needs to understand that there are some factors that are determining what's happening in mexico that are completely exogenous to our country that have almost nothing to do with our country. that has to do with the demand for drugs in the united states. the supply of guns from the united states. but there are also other things that are completely, let's say are homework to do. we really needed to do something that is very important and it's important for mexico and i think it has been important for every country at some point in its history which is to guarantee that we have proper institutions that are accountable, transparent and democratic. institutions that are in charge of the rule of law. so there are some impediments that have something to do with the international and regional perspective. there are impediments about what
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we need to do in mexico. i think if one with characterize tears of the calderon administration the last six years, we have done our homework. in terms of transforming rule of law institutions. and there's still a path to go ahead. >> rose: are there things you could have done that you didn't do because of access to resources or anything like that? >> well, when one puts what's happened in mexico in perspective, charlie, one needs to think about what the consensus was about mexico seven or eight years ago. the consensus was we had a government which did not have a majority in congress, whether it was under the pri between 1997 and 2000 they didn't have it in congress. between 2000 and 2006 he didn't have majority in congress. and president calderon of course we didn't have majority in congress either. and sort of the consensus was that we couldn't pass what we call structural reforms, that it
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was going to be impossible to pass political reform, tax reform, energy reform. and the truth be told, we have been able toass reforms in every single one of those areas. we have made significant advances. we have pushed the envelope in many of these areas. for example, only a few months ago we were able to announce that we found significant oil reserves in the gulf of mexico that we hadn't been able to lok for or drill because we hadn't been able to put financial money from the private sector alongside our stake hold oil company to do it. we were able to do that thanks to that reform. so in a sense when one looks at is ipersctive, mexico has been moving forward very significantly. of course we're very worried about the violence, of course we're very worried about security. but in many areas, and we can talk about them at length, mexico has made very significant advances. >> rose: what's the relationship with the united states today? >> well you know very well
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mexico's relationship with the united states is very very complex. it's very rich. it's full of different areas of interaction. >> rose: a long border. >> very very long border, the most active border in the world right now in terms of commerce, terms of people from going both sides between the two countries. i would say the relationship is truly exceptional. it's very very good between governments and private sectors, between societies in many ways. and i think it also of course faces significant challenges. in particular in the area of security we have improved the relationship quite dramatically but we're always talking about the areas of opportunity and the other things that we still need to do. >> rose: what can you tell us about operation fast and furious? >> well, from the very ginning, we said, and some of the investigations that had been released bear this out, that no mexican official of course was
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asked about the part nounce allowing to go into mexico. we would have objected to it. we do not accept that kind of operation in any way and we expect justice to be made on those people who have to be held accountable for what has happened. on the other hand, let me show you, this is an imrtant area. we really need to take stock between the relationship of mexico and the united states. we fully respect the united states constitution and the right of citizens to bear arms. one needs to look at the evidence. let me just show you in this chart, very very simple indications of what happened over the last decade and-a-half. these are the total number of gun sales in the united states. between 1994 and 2010. this shows the ten years in which the assault weapons ban was in st and how the sales of
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guns was going down. after the assault weapons the sale of guns started to go up significantly. what i have charted here is the homicide rate in mexico. >> rose: so manufactured weapons goes up the homicide rate goes up. >> the homicide rate in mexico goes up. i'm not saying this is because of the expiration of the assault weapons ban. it is because of the drug gangs fighting for the drug markets because of the fact that the rule of law in mexico was relatively weakened, we need to improve it. and i can talk about it but this is an area of opportunity where we still need much more to do. >> rose: was the recent election a referendum of calderon. >> well, as you know, every single election does have a component of referendum. the world over because of the economic crises, what we have seen is that incumbents are finding it hard to get re-elected.
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income parties are finding it hard to get re-elected in almost every single country in the rld. >> rose: because of economic crises primarily. >> primarily because of the economic prices. i mean if you look at what happened in mexico, really the security strategy was actually not that much of a debate between the different parties. the different canned dates they all said we are basically in agreement with the fact that we need to keep on fighting the drug cartels. there might be slightly alternative ways to do it. >> rose: what do expect from the new government. >> if one looks at what the record has been in terms of for example congressional decisions about the security strategy, in terms of what state level governments from the pri, from my party the national action party, from the prd. what we have been able to build over the last few years is a significant degree of political consensus around the fact that we need to bring these cartels
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down. we need to bring them to justice. we need to improve the rule of law. we need to reconstruct the social fabric. if their legislative record, we need to push it forward in terms of implementation. there might be some shift in strategy. >> rose: with respect to drug traffickers i heard two things. number one they begun to split up in smaller units and that raises the violence rather than a centralized effort, is that a fair observation. >> it's a fair observation of the wrong argument. >> rose: what's the wrong argument. >> i think the wrong argument is the way to bring violence is to consolidate these huge organizations. it's exactly opposite what we need to do. what we face to be honest at the beginning of this government six years was these criminal
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organizations becoming stronger and richer and more violent against each other with greater possibility of corrupting public officials. >> rose: no amount of money is so high. >> exactly. and state level, state institutions, the rule of law not strengthening. we've been able to shift that balance significantly by bringing these leaders to justice. out of the 37 most wanted criminals in mexico, 25 have been rehabilitated. >> rose: have been arrested. >> have been arrested. we have stronger state institutions. so there is a way in which you can have a. lower level of violence which i was showing in these charts. the homicide rate was very high in the united states but you guys were able to bring it down. >> rose: the cocaine wars is what you're saying.
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>> exactly. >> rose: let me thank you about two other things before i leave. one is immigration reform in america. the president said that if he's re-elected he will make it an important element of his own second term objectives. what would be from your government's stand point a good positive sustainable immigration reform. >> i would be cautious about that. i don't want to g in the politics of it especially right now in the united states but i will say one thing. it is undinnable that the contributions of the mexican community to the united states are wide spread, are very significant, are very deep and our presence in many every area of economy and society. i think in at that time regard no wonder this is a significant debate in the united states. >> rose: what's frustrating with mexico with respect to immigrants and immigration coming and coming back. coming here and thennoteing able to have any access to sort
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of specific functions. >> i think there has been some significant steps that we need to praise the decisions met by the obama administration to guarantee. >> rose: like the dream act. >> absolutely. those are elements of a greater recognition of the need to take stock of the reality of what immigration has done for the united states. >> rose: i've talked about president calderon about climate change and his own strong environmental efforts to do something. there is also this. some people are predicting that not mexico but brazil has the greatest growing economy in latin america in this decade. is that something you believe, are there numbers to indicate that. certainly when you think of the discovery of oil offshore and to fuel that kind of explosion. >> let alone that charlie we also have significant reserves of shale gas. we also have right now the second largest growing economy in all of the oecd countries.
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we have very low levels of inftion. we ve ry low levels of unemployment. we have just created this year 780,000 new jobs. >> rose: but is tourism down because of all of the stories of violence against tourism. >> no, in 2011 tourism has reached record numbers. it has increased by 18% relative to what we had at the beginning of our term. we had a figure here 191 million total tourists between, internal tourists and 23.4 international tourists. everyone going to mexico is returning back to their ountries a saying 's worth. >> rose: what will be an optimal, how does a good relationship between mexico and the united states, what elements would it have and how would it be of great benefit to both the economic and cultural life of those countries? >> i think we need to recognize that we share geography, we share history.
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we share future, our future. i think the more we think about north america as a region. >> rose: from canada to mexico. >> from canada to mexico in terms of the competitive advantages that we have, the complementaries that we have in terms of innovation, in terms of new enterprises, in terms of how job creations in mexico benefits job creations in the u.s. because we are together producing certain goods that are going to be consumed in the region or elsewhere. the more we think about it and the more we realize that we share the possibility and the responsibility for making our region wonderful, i think the better it will be. there are any number of areas in which we can talk about specific things. >> rose: finally this. the former administrator of the drug enforcement administration have said if mexico city allows the northern states to fall under control of the cartel, quote, the united states will share a 2000 mile border with a narco state controlled by powerful transnational drug cartels that threaten the
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stability of central and south america. >> i think that was a risk that might have been present in the past. i think that what we have done already by bringing these cartels down and improving state catastrophe, we need to keep on going because we need to push the accelerator still. that is going to be a risk that is going to be far far away in and just a hospital one. >> - hypothetical one. >> rose: thank you for coming. >> thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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